How healthy are you at work?

We all have stressful days at work from time to time. But according to the latest study from the TUC, stress at work may be more of a serious issue than we think, with results suggesting it could be a problem in up to 70 percent of workplaces.

In the study, the top three professions citing stress as one of their main concerns were central government – where 93 percent of workplaces are affected – education (89 percent) and health services (82 percent). All parts of the UK are affected, the TUC says, but Northern Ireland workplaces were found to experience stress more than elsewhere.

Public Health England (PHE) has also released a series of figures to highlight the affect of mental health problems at work. More than 15 million work days were lost to stress, depression and anxiety in 2014 – 24 percent more than in 2009 – it claims, making mental health conditions one of the leading causes of sickness absence in the UK.

Work itself can be a cause of stress and common mental health problems. According to PHE, 9.9 million days were lost to work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2014/2015. Meanwhile, one in six people of working age is thought to have a diagnosable mental health condition, with 19 percent of long-term sickness absence in England attributed to mental ill health.

The figures also suggest at least one in three people of working age has a long-term health condition that might in the future – or may already – affect their ability to work. The risk of having a long-term condition rises with age (21 percent of people aged 25-44 and 57 percent of those aged 65-74 are affected). Not only that, but if you have a physical long-term condition, you have a one in three chance of being affected by a mental illness such as depression or anxiety too.

Aches and pains

On the other hand, musculoskeletal conditions – that is, any injury, damage or disorder to the joints or muscles in the back, shoulders, neck, arms, hands, legs or feet – keep more people away from their job than anything else, says PHE.

In 2013, 30.6 million days of sickness absence were attributed to musculoskeletal conditions, which is the equivalent of 23 percent of all lost working days and 33 percent of long-term sickness absence in England.

If you have a bad back or any other muscle or joint aches or injuries, your local Careway pharmacist can help by recommending the most effective over-the-counter pain relief products, as well as other helpful things such as hot and cold therapy aids. Also read our article How to manage joint pain during a cold snap if your arthritis pain gets worse during the winter months.

Your GP and your pharmacist can also offer advice and support if you’re finding it difficult to cope with stress at work – or indeed anywhere else. Find your nearest Careway pharmacy by using our Pharmacy Finder.